Your input needed: Faithlife Study Bible

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This post has 182 Replies | 13 Followers

Posts 1713
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 1:01 PM

Ed Blough:
Bob with all due respect take this simple test.  Empty your mind of all you know about Faithlife

This is a good suggestion, and we're taking it to heart. We're also working to improve the messaging for both products. (Part of the problem is that they are at different levels of completion... Faithlife.com has lots of stuff that's still coming in order to deliver its full promise. We also built the web sites and marketing while both products were still in development.)

Is the primary confusion that we're using the same brand name on both the Study Bible and the online community? If you "emptied your mind" and visited only http://faithlifebible.com/features would it at least make sense as a single product -- a Study Bible -- or is even that confusing?

Posts 3163
Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 1:08 PM

Bob Pritchett:
If you "emptied your mind" and visited only http://faithlifebible.com/features would it at least make sense as a single product -- a Study Bible -- or is even that confusing?

 

I think Faithlife is a surprisingly good study Bible, especially given how short it has been out. I refer to it often already because I like how it gives me a good overview quickly. Community studying for me, beyond the basic Study Bible, is well below other features\functions in my priority list for Logos though.

Posts 1739
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 1:35 PM

Bob Pritchett:

Ed Blough:
Bob with all due respect take this simple test.  Empty your mind of all you know about Faithlife

This is a good suggestion, and we're taking it to heart. We're also working to improve the messaging for both products. (Part of the problem is that they are at different levels of completion... Faithlife.com has lots of stuff that's still coming in order to deliver its full promise. We also built the web sites and marketing while both products were still in development.)

Is the primary confusion that we're using the same brand name on both the Study Bible and the online community? If you "emptied your mind" and visited only http://faithlifebible.com/features would it at least make sense as a single product -- a Study Bible -- or is even that confusing?

First a forum quirk.  The link you gave was cut off and sent me to a fujitsu web site...  Text for your link works fine though.

Now that I am actually there, I went through the tabs and looked at a few of the videos.  Impression is that it LOOKS slick.  It does seem to be some form of study bible, but I am confused when I go to the "Works Anywhere" tab.  I would recommend writing out "Faithlife Study Bible" instead of FSB.  Yes, there is a place for abbreviations, but they can also turn into a confusing mess.  As a side issue, that is one GREAT thing about the Logos version of Anchor-Yale Bible Dictionary as well as many other resources - mouse over the abbreviations and you can see what they mean without feeling stupid.

While I am on that page, I find myself asking why I would want to read the FSB in so many ways.  Why would I want the FSB app or Vyrso on my phone, for example?  And this is from a user who is somewhat familiar with your offerings.  A truly NEW user would be overwhelmed.

In addition, I find myself wondering HOW to use this.  The videos do help somewhat, but make me wonder if there is truly useful information in there.  In old dead tree study bibles, there would often be some sample pages - sometimes extended excerpts of the actual material from the product.  The videos are a bit fast to actually read when the text is actually visible.

It is certainly possible that people will be curious enough to try a free trial.  Personally I was, way back when.  But I was already invested in the Logos system.

I already have a decent library with most of the translations you include.  But new users do not.  I understand that you need to make money and are being quite generous in offering the Lexham Bible for free.  I understand being proud of your work on this.  I am personally impressed at how the notes can switch between multiple translations so easily.

But perhaps new users would find it appealing if a familiar translation were included - or at least a translation a truly new user had heard of before.  Admittedly there are copyright issues.

Does this help?

 

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

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Forum MVP
JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 2:19 PM

Bob Pritchett:
If you can provide more specifics about what you were expecting, what was promised, and which books we're discussing, I can provide more detail.

I believe Daniel is talking about the Ugaritic Library. Part of the description says: 

While most of the Ugaritic in this product is transliterated, which is easier to read than the cuneiform letters, Logos Bible Software is able to display and search on cuneiform Ugaritic text. Above is a sample of the font we designed for this project. Find out why this ancient language is important to you by reading Dr. Michael Heiser's article on Ugaritic studies.

I dont understand it personally. Its all Greek Ugaritic to me. Stick out tongue

OSX & iOS | Logs |  Install

Posts 204
David Salazar | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 2:26 PM

Since you want people to purchase one of the base packages, you might also want to put reference that are part of different levels of base packages instead of mostly a few expensive resources like, ISBE, YABD and C etc.

 

So when you click on them and the other screen comes up that says you don't have this resource but you could, instead of needing to buy addition resources, it should be more of an incentive to buy one of the base packages.  I doubt a starter wants to buy a base package and then still not be able to use FSB to a high level.

So instead of just saying you could have this resources, include a quick pitch that many of the extra resources that it links to are part of different level of base packages.

Posts 1713
LogosEmployee
Bob Pritchett | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 3:24 PM

alabama24:
I believe Daniel is talking about the Ugaritic Library. Part of the description says

Okay, that helps. Here is a link to some of the text in cuneiform.

logosres:ut;ref=Page.p_297;off=1052

This text is displayed in cuneiform, and you can search it. (Select some of the text, right-click, and search for it.) There are limited amounts of text in cuneiform, though, as mentioned. ("While most of the Ugaritic in this product is transliterated...")

We don't ship a cuneiform keyboard by default, but our free Shibboleth application supports it: http://www.logos.com/shibboleth

Posts 325
Robert Wazlavek | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 3:56 PM

Bob Pritchett:

Is the primary confusion that we're using the same brand name on both the Study Bible and the online community? If you "emptied your mind" and visited only http://faithlifebible.com/features would it at least make sense as a single product -- a Study Bible -- or is even that confusing?

Personally, I've never had much confusion between the two.  But I can see how it might be confusing to some, especially since there isn't much linking between the two (cannot easily/obviously access the normal Faithlife site from the Faithlifebible site, and vice versa).  I can see this making a person who's been told of something "faithlife" confused as to if they are in the right place because of this lack of accessibility to the other site.

With that said, I would suggest that the two don't have to have the same "Faithlife" name.  I could see a "____-Life" brand where you have a number of different things with the ending "life" attached to some prefix which describes the item.  Like a "Word-Life Study Bible" and a "Faith-Life Community" or something like that.  Just a thought.  Might be a terrible suggestion, I dunno.

Posts 433
Vincent Setterholm | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jul 18 2012 4:26 PM

Daniel Reed:
Daniel > It's not about how to use the searchable cuneiform fonts, they do not exist. It's a question of why you advertize searchable cuneiform fonts when all that exist are some individual images with links. That's not a 'font' by definition.

It's not your software that's a problem, it's your deceptive advertizing. The Logos marketing team is of little faith when it comes to marketing your products. Why trick folks? Honest Christianity will sell itself.

Hello, Daniel.

Our searches are not font specific - we use Unicode (www.unicode.org), the international standard for encoding a dizzying variety of scripts, ancient and modern. Generally, this means that, other than some fonts looking better than others, it doesn't matter what font we display in (but more on this in a bit), the underlying codes for each character are standardized. This also means that there is no difference between searching cuneiform and searching anything else. It's just searching. If you want to type in characters to search (rather than highlighting, copying/pasting, etc.), you will need to install a software keyboard that knows how to interpret your keystrokes as the proper Unicode characters - and that is the same as searching Hebrew, Greek, Russian, etc. Or you can use a product like Shibboleth (Windows only, found at: www.logos.com/shibboleth), if you prefer that to learning a new keyboard.

If you open Gordon's Ugaritic Textbook to Chapter 18, you will find a whole chapter of Ugaritic in searchable cuneiform script. (There are also links to the original hand-drawn images for comparison.)

Our default search behavior is to search whole words, so if you're looking for a group of letters but don't care about prefixed or suffixed elements, you'll need to use the wildcard operator * before and/or after the string you are searching for. As you may know, Ugaritic has a word-divider character, but it is inconsistently used, which may warrant using wildcards more often. Note also that Dr. Smick's transcriptions in Gordon's Textbook do occasionally split words across lines, even where the tablets do not. New lines are word-breaking in our software, so it is possible to miss a few hits on a search if one of them spans a line. (Of course, if you know that the word is split, you can use a phrase search (which does search across newlines) to find it - and even if you don't know that such a split occurs, it is possible to string together a series of phrase searches for each potential break, like: dbr OR "d br" OR "db r", but it isn't a perfect solution (probably would fail if a line number intervened, and might not catch a hit if certain editorial marks appeared inside a word).

(I do notice that we're not displaying the Ugaritic properly in the search results window or on right-click menus in Windows - Mac does this fine. I'll make sure there's a dev ticket in for that, if there isn't already.)

Ugaritic has a lot of variant letter shapes, which Unicode doesn't assign unique code points to (which was by design, and makes a lot of sense for modern languages, but I think a case could have been made for Ugaritic to be handled differently...). For a number of technical reasons, we put those variant glyphs in the Private Use Area, which means to see those marks, one needs to use our font, but we handle those marks in our search indexer as identical to the canonical characters, so this presents no problems for searching, and doesn't require a non-standard keyboard to interact with. Where some of the variant signs have been interpreted as more than one letter (reflecting either real change over time or uncertainty as to what the proper value is), we index them as equivalent to all the canonical options (cool, no?). (Unicode theoretically specifies the use of a variant glyph selector mark for handling this issue, but the order of variants isn't specified in the Standard, so it ends up creating a world where the fonts aren't standardized or interchangeable anyway - and at the time we were developing this product, those glyph variant features weren't supported (at least for Ugaritic) in Windows, so PUA with a customized indexer was the best solution.)

Searching cuneiform has challenges that are different than searching Bibles, because of the often fragmentary nature of the texts, the diverse interpretive options regarding how to break the text into discrete words (or sometimes even what an individual letter is), the fact that the citation system is based on physical lines (which sometimes span multiple tablet fragments with different identifying numbers) instead of being more content-based, the diversity of glyphs representing a single letter/sound. (This is without getting into the issues with syllabic cuneiform where the same word can be spelled with a dizzying number of different signs - there's a good reason why most cuneiform texts are published in transliterations.) It's not difficult to imagine what the perfect search engine for tackling these difficulties would look like (the Madrid group that provided the UDB have a pretty decent tool for searching transliterations (if I remember rightly, it doesn't do cuneiform transcriptions - I haven't looked at it in years, though) that gives an idea of the types of features one might want), but I'm guessing we'd have to sell rather a lot more cuneiform transcriptions to justify writing a custom search engine for them.

All that said, I believe everything in the Ugaritic Library that was in cuneiform script in the print books, rather than transliteration, was encoded in a searchable Unicode text, not just as images (this would not apply to photos of tablets, but we did transcribe hand-drawn cuneiform). If we missed a spot, let me know.

 

Posts 6
Daniel Reed | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 19 2012 6:18 AM

Vincent,

Thank you very much!  This is the kind of support I was looking for. 

It needs to be pointed out that I contacted Logos directly and went into the forums for support on this problem.  I was pretty much cast down by the Logos staff and told to watch the videos or contact Morris Proctor for help.  Morris Proctor still hasn't returned my email. Even in the forums some like alabama24 are too quick to say, Logos is wonderful, I don't know what I'm doing so just go away and leave us be.

After stumbling through the forums I finally dug in and stated my problems here, because I couldn't find help anywhere else.  Now Vincent has provided the information I need.  Why couldn't Kathy Richardson have pointed me in the right direction?  Why did I have to make a big stink here about support?

What should I have done differently?  After all I did contact Logos directly. 

Thank you Vincent,
Dan Reed

Posts 28691
Forum MVP
JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 19 2012 10:28 AM

Daniel Reed:
Even in the forums some like alabama24 are too quick to say, Logos is wonderful, I don't know what I'm doing so just go away and leave us be.

Daniel - I am sorry that I offended you in some way. I am not sure what I did! I believe criticism of Logos is appropriate at times, and have done so myself. I don't, however, appreciate you bashing down people. You did so by naming out a Logos employee, and have done so again by calling me out. I spend a considerable amount of time on these forums volunteering my time. In the case of your issues, I took time out of my day to write to Bob Pritchett to make sure that your concerns were addressed. As for the Logos employee that you named… I am not sure why certain advice was given. The truth is that Logos employees and forum users (including MVP's) all have different knowledge, skill sets, and interests. Often times the forums are the most efficient way to get the information you need. In this case, the issue was a bit more technical.

Daniel Reed:
What should I have done differently?  After all I did contact Logos directly.

Go up the food chain if you need to, but do so with respect. Embarrassing someone doesn't benefit anyone and is not Christlike. If you feel that an employee handled a situation improperly, humbly let management know (after all, if no one else points it out, it reflects poorly on the company and the employee doesn't learn anything). But remember, you never really know about a person until you walk around in their skin.

OSX & iOS | Logs |  Install

Posts 433
Vincent Setterholm | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jul 19 2012 1:54 PM

Daniel Reed:
What should I have done differently?

I'd have started a new forum thread with a descriptive title like "Ugaritic Searching Help". Few (no?) Logos employees have the time to read every forum post - instead we skim for threads related to our areas of expertise and influence. Since I'm not very involved with Faithlife, I never saw this discussion until someone else (Bob in this case) asked me to respond, but there's a fairly good chance I'd have read a new thread with 'Ugaritic' in the title. (A more descriptive thread title might also have gotten a quick answer from one of your fellow customers.)

Glad I could help.

Posts 38
Tim Bader | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jul 20 2012 6:04 AM

Just thought I'd put in my 2c as well.

I think it's not so much the brand, it's just that I've already invested much of my hard earned cash into a product like Logos.

So when a new product comes along from the same company, I want to know not only what it is but how it links in with what I've already got.

My first question was whether I might be able to e.g. lead a bible study in my home group with my friends using FSB and the community features online, while I weigh in with extra/'value added' stuff from my extensive Logos library.

Some other comments about the iPod/iPhone application :

1. I downloaded FSB straight away and found that while it looks good, it is back to the same old performance problems that plagued the Logos iPhone application when I first got that. Logos really needs to address this kind of issue up front when a new product is released, rather than waiting until people complain about it. Microsoft finally realised that performance should be a first class design issue for Windows 2 or 3 years ago, and Logos should be the same.

2. I like the extra menus (access to other resources such as images) in FSB and also the colour coding on the verse selection screen. I am however, disappointed that I don't already have these features on the Logos application as well.

- I love the sheer power and the breadth and depth of the desktop application, but I am longing for the day when I can use the majority of the functions on my iPod (or other mobile device), or even on Biblia.com as well e.g. search ranges, collections, etc. I second the previous post about the speed of search too.

One simple suggestion (slightly off topic): can the verse selection screen in both Logos and FSB applications have a 'Go'/'OK' button on each screen? because sometimes I just want to go to the beginning of a book or chapter in the bible, without having to select a specific verse.

Posts 28691
Forum MVP
JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jul 20 2012 6:19 AM

Tim Bader:
I downloaded FSB straight away and found that while it looks good, it is back to the same old performance problems that plagued the Logos iPhone application when I first got that.

What device do you have?

OSX & iOS | Logs |  Install

Posts 98
Ed Blough | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jul 20 2012 7:31 AM

Bob Pritchett:

Ed Blough:
Bob with all due respect take this simple test.  Empty your mind of all you know about Faithlife

This is a good suggestion, and we're taking it to heart. We're also working to improve the messaging for both products. (Part of the problem is that they are at different levels of completion... Faithlife.com has lots of stuff that's still coming in order to deliver its full promise. We also built the web sites and marketing while both products were still in development.)

Is the primary confusion that we're using the same brand name on both the Study Bible and the online community? If you "emptied your mind" and visited only http://faithlifebible.com/features would it at least make sense as a single product -- a Study Bible -- or is even that confusing?

Bob

Thank you for taking the time to address my concerns

If you "emptied your mind" and visited only http://faithlifebible.com/features would it at least make sense as a single product -- a Study Bible -- or is even that confusing?

Yes it did and I downloaded it and hence my involvement in this forum. It was only after I downloaded and played with the faithlife bible that I saw everyone talking about the Faithlife. It was then that I became lost. They were mentioning things separate from a study bible. I started to explore. One place I looked offered a few textblocks filled with ad type information but no real user info. Another site presented me the opportunity to sign up. But when I tried to find out what I was being asked to sign up for I found nothing and was taken back to the site the contained the textblocks of Ad hype. 

So I started checking out the forums on Faithlife and I found many and varying opinions on what it is and what it does.  I have found flowing and gushing praise but so far no one has offered any real tangible use. Most comments are prefixed with " I can see where ....".  Well so do I however I'm also aware of in many of those "I can see" scenarios that there are already numerous existing solutions. So there must be something that I'm missing and everyone else knows the secret or everyone is just talking.

Posts 38
Tim Bader | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 21 2012 5:37 AM

My device is an iPod touch: any particula reason?

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Forum MVP
JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 21 2012 5:54 AM

Tim Bader:
My device is an iPod touch: any particula reason?

Sure. I have an iPod touch that is several years old. It will barely run the app. I have an original iPad, and it runs the app ok, but is sluggish at times. I have an iPhone 4s, and the response is nimble. What generation iPod touch do you have?

OSX & iOS | Logs |  Install

Posts 38
Tim Bader | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 23 2012 1:09 AM

Ah, I see where you're coming from now.

No, my iPod is fairly recent (4 I think).

My main point was really that I have both applications: Logos and Faithlife.

Logos runs fine and I hardly ever have a problem with it.

However, Faithlife is slow (particularly on start-up) and I found was crashing out on me quite often.

That said, since my original post, I "cheated" a bit by using Logos to download the Lexham bible for offline use.

Once I did that, Faithlife opens and runs much better.

...but please note also my other comments which were that the Faithlife application has some features and improvements which are not in the Logos application : a situation which I find a little disappointing too.

Posts 28691
Forum MVP
JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 23 2012 5:19 AM

Tim Bader:
Faithlife is slow (particularly on start-up) and I found was crashing out on me quite often.

This very well may be due to the fact that faithlife has not finished downloading everything. The faithlife app automatically downloads all of the faithlife resources, including photos & videos. Once the app actually finishes the downloads, it should run better. 

Tim Bader:

That said, since my original post, I "cheated" a bit by using Logos to download the Lexham bible for offline use.

Once I did that, Faithlife opens and runs much better.

I dont understand the connection between the two. I believe that the Lexham products are automatically downloaded to faithlife.

Tim Bader:
please note also my other comments which were that the Faithlife application has some features and improvements which are not in the Logos application : a situation which I find a little disappointing too.

I am unsure of your "disappointment." Bob has said that the faithlife app will drive the development of the other apps in the near future. If you are upset because the app hasn't been updated presently, you need to remember that the development of apps takes time. Logos can't just snap their fingers and make all apps look and function the same.

FYI - There is a forum for the Logos iOS apps. In the future, it would be a great place to get help with the apps (such as the crashing that you mentioned earlier).

OSX & iOS | Logs |  Install

Posts 38
Tim Bader | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jul 23 2012 7:59 AM

Thanks for your reply.

alabama24:
I dont understand the connection between the two. I believe that the Lexham products are automatically downloaded to faithlife.

I didn't realise this (and the Faithlife application doesn't make it obvious that is what it is doing). I just know that after I had downloaded the Lexham bible within the Logos iPhone application then Faithlife seemed to open up much more quickly.

...but then maybe it was just that it had already downloaded everything as you suggest.

alabama24:
I am unsure of your "disappointment." Bob has said that the faithlife app will drive the development of the other apps in the near future. If you are upset because the app hasn't been updated presently, you need to remember that the development of apps takes time. Logos can't just snap their fingers and make all apps look and function the same.

I think 'upset' is too strong a word, but I was a little bit disappointed.

I work in a software company myself so I appreciate the issues involved.

I just felt that Logos have created another new application which already seems slightly ahead of the Logos iPod application in certain basic areas (not all, by any means).

I think Logos is a fantastic product overall, and I get very excited every time a new update comes through on the desktop application.

I would like to see as much attention given to the Logos iPod application as is given to the desktop and IMO there are certain basic functions missing from the iPhone application which make it difficult to use to it's best ability.

The addition of Faithlife iPhone application could therefore be a concern in terms of time and resources available for development, etc.

However, if Bob has said that Faithlife will drive the development of the other apps then I look forward to the changes.

Thanks

Posts 22
Scott W Fischer | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jul 27 2012 7:36 PM

Well, I'm a very new user of Logos having made my first investment through a very small package and then adding on the Perseus collection.  It's a great way to get started on trying to figure out how the tool works.  The idea of a (1) free (2) community (3) study-bible was very interesting to me and I figured I'd give it a shot.

- I hemmed and hawed over signing up for FSB, knowing that I'd likely get charged an annual subscription, but since March 2014 was nearly 2 years away (or so), I figured I'd have the option to cancel that subscription some time between now and then.  I'm VERY concerned that I see no way to CANCEL that subscription now.  If the product truly is going to be subscription based, we need to be able to cancel it.

- I echo the concerns about not knowing who the contributors to the FSB are and what their qualifications are.  There are many study bibles out there that I've perused in the book store and decided on examination that having to filter through the chaff and garbage of notes just to find the few golden nuggets wasn't worth it to me.  Therefore I didn't buy them.  I did not have the opportunity to (1) review the names and qualifications of the contributors, nor (2) examine several example notes, commentary and/or other additional resources.  Having now signed up for the "free" trial subscription (*cough* with no way to cancel it *cough*) I've now spent maybe an hour examining some of the study notes.  Some interesting tidbits, but the overall feel is fluffy and certainly not in line with Catholic teaching and therefore something I not all that interested in.   Yeah I know Logos has a Catholic products division and I didn't really expect FSB to align directly with that product set, but as an idea, it was certainly worth evaluating.  Just not my cup of tea.

- It was not until after I signed up for the subscription and played around before I got confused and found this forum thread that I learned that FSB does not INCLUDE the community aspect, but that faithlife.com is a separate (but related) tool.  Sure my logos.com id works on faithlife.com, but it doesn't do anything.  I think having a study bible is great.  I think having a study bible community is great.  Having the two work together is great.  And that was/is my expectation.  Others may want only one or the other.  But for those who expect both, there needs to be some immediate setup on the faithlife.com site, for example, suggesting that the user choose whether or not to be added to a beginners group.

- Now as far as groups, I wanted to find a "beginner's" group to see how the community aspect works.  It's not obvious how to find groups, but it's VERY obvious on how to create groups.  Eventually I found how to search for groups on the Help page.  And then I started searching ... and searching ... and searching ... and finding THOUSANDS of groups, all of which had ZERO members.  Ridiculous.

So where am I?  I have a subscription that I can't cancel.  I have a study bible with unknown and questionable (from my perspective) content.  And I have a non-existent study bible community.  I'll play with it some more, but it hasn't been a good start so far.

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